they do not have the ontology of realist photography

Mohammad Ali1

Senior Member
Persian
We cannot see numbers in any
part of the universe; the number 3 does not reside anywhere. The
same goes for memories: they do not have the ontology of realist
photography
. Nevertheless, without numbers and memories there
would be no human society. Society is essentially tied to human
imagination.
Source: Power of Art by Markus Gabriel
Q: Does It mean that we can't touch them?. They are abstract or something? They are not materials?
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Does It mean that we can't touch them?. They are abstract or something?
    These are good guesses about what Gabriel intended that statement to mean. To tell you the truth, they do not have the ontology of realist photography sounds a lot like gibberish to me. It would have made more sense to say that the objects in photographs have a physical existence that numbers and memories don't have.

    Cross-posted.
     
    Last edited:

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I suppose that this is a physical symbol of a number. In practical language, it makes sense to write 5 on a chalkboard and call it a number. I'm not good at math, but I have read similar remarks before about the abstract nature of numbers, ideas, and memories. They aren't objects in the physical world.
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    But what about when we right a number in a blackboard? That doesn't consider physical existence?
    It's a symbol whose meaning is entirely conventional; the chalk marks themselves are trivial. A photograph depicts "reality," at least to an extent, and is perceived in (roughly) the same manner by any observer. At least that's the argument.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    We cannot see numbers in any
    part of the universe; the number 3 does not reside anywhere. The
    same goes for memories: they do not have the ontology of realist
    photography
    . Nevertheless, without numbers and memories there
    would be no human society. Society is essentially tied to human
    imagination.
    Source: Power of Art by Markus Gabriel
    Q: Does It mean that we can't touch them?. They are abstract or something? They are not materials?
    I think it means that your writer is more interested in sounding impressive than in communicating meaning.

    Ontology is a that branch of philosophy which is not concerned with ethics. It's to do with meaning, rather than with how people should behave, or the meaning of moral words, like good, and should.

    I expect the writer means that numbers and memories do not have existence of the kind shown by a photograph.
     

    abluter

    Senior Member
    British English
    It's definitely a branch of metaphysics. I looked it up, and The Newt agrees with my dictionary. I had a (probably ill-informed) notion that ontology was to do with the thinginess of things, which is not unrelated to being or existence. If anything exists, that thing is a thing.
     
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